Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs

senior dog

As your dog reaches their senior years, their nutritional needs will change, and the dog food you have been feeding them will no longer meet those needs. You’ll have to think about switching to a food that manufacturers engineer to specifically meet those changing needs. 

Fortunately, there are many brands that give mature dogs the nutrients they need for longer and healthier lives. 

Is Your Dog Considered a Senior or Elderly Animal?

You might not realize that it’s time to start looking for the best senior dog food for your pet. Since dogs age differently, your pet becomes a senior sooner than you might expect. 

If your dog has reached half of its expected lifespan, they are already considered to be a mature pet. Once your dog reaches the last quarter of their breed’s life expectancy age, they are a senior animal.

Since large-breed dogs have an overall lifespan of eight years, you should begin shopping for the best soft dog food for senior dogs by the time the pet reaches their fifth birthday. For smaller dogs, the life expectancy is generally 10 years. This means you should start shopping for senior dog food before the pet turns eight years old.

Along with looking for the best dog food for older dogs, you should also reconsider their access to treats. For example, feeding your dog cheesecake might have been okay while they were young, but now that your dog is mature and their metabolism is slower, the excess sugar can significantly impact their health. 

What Are the Nutritional Needs of Senior Dogs?

There are several factors to consider in shopping for the best dog food for elderly dogs. Primarily, you’ll want to maintain tighter control over calorie intake since senior dogs face higher risks for obesity. 

In addition to using fewer calories for energy, senior dogs also have a reduced need for certain nutrients. Dog food manufacturers take these changes into account when developing senior dog food formulas.

There are some things senior dogs do need from their food. They typically need higher amounts of fat, protein, phosphorus, and sodium. 

Look for these essential staples of nutrition for senior dogs when shopping for the best dry dog food for senior dogs. Even the best canned dog food for seniors should list these qualities on the nutrition panel.

The Best Dog Food for Senior Dogs: High-Quality Options

As you look for dog food for senior pets, you’ll want to compare nutrient labels and the ingredients in each food. Even when a product label states that the food is vet-recommended, verify that the food contains the nutrients your dog needs. 

The only exception to this rule may be a food recommended by your dog’s veterinarian since that recommendation is specifically based on your dog’s medical history.

Here are some of the best options for quality senior dog food:

hills science diet

Hill’s Science Diet Adult 7+ Dog Food

The Hill’s Science Diet brand is popular among vets because the manufacturer works with veterinarians to develop healthy food. This is just as true for the brand’s senior dog food products. 

The brand offers a variety of mature and senior foods customized for small-breed and large-breed dogs. You can also find special formulas designed to promote better digestive health and cognitive support. 

The primary ingredient for this brand is animal-sourced protein. You can use this product as your dog’s sole food, or you can mix it with the best wet dog food for senior dogs.

Ollie Chicken With Carrots

More pet owners turn to Ollie when looking for the best senior wet dog food on the market. That’s because the primary ingredients — chicken, chicken liver, carrots, peas, and rice — all come from fresh, natural sources. The company also offers four more fresh recipes to suit your dog’s tastes.

The recipe provides 37% protein and 11% fat, helping to meet your dog’s nutritional needs. One of the advantages of choosing Ollie food is that they customize the formula for each dog. They consider the dog’s age, size, breed, and activity level in determining calories and portion sizes.

ollie food
open farm food

Open Farm Senior Dog Food

When looking for treats for your dog, you’ll find that senior dogs can eat shrimp due to the beneficial nutrients in seafood. With Open Farm Senior Dog Food, your dog will get more of those nutrients in the ocean whitefish meal included in the recipe. The food’s other primary ingredients include turkey, chicken, sweet potato, and peas.

This brand is ideal for senior dogs since it only contains 436 calories per cup. It has 34% protein, and most of that protein comes from the fresh turkey in the recipe. Additionally, it has 14% fat and 44% carbs. Since it’s grain-free, this food is great for dogs with sensitive digestive systems.

Raised Right Dog Food

If you’re looking for an alternative to the best senior dry dog food in your pet store, look for the Raised Right brand. In addition to beef, the brand offers 10 more recipes to suit the pickiest canine eaters. The beef recipe contains fresh beef, beef hearts, beef liver, carrots, and cranberries. This is a grain-free recipe to help dogs with gluten allergies.

This food is ideal for mature dogs since most of its protein comes from fresh beef. It has 61% protein and 24% fat. The higher fat and protein content makes this food a great choice for senior dogs with changing nutritional needs. 

raised right food
royal canin food

Royal Canin Large Aging Dry Dog Food

The Royal Canin Large Aging Dry Dog Food formula is specifically engineered to benefit large dogs that weigh over 55 pounds. It contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and omega-6 fatty acids. Along with other nutrients, these compounds promote stronger bones and joints. 

Although this is a dry dog food, mixing it with water will create a tasty gravy and soften the food nuggets. Alternatively, you can mix it with a soft senior wet dog food.

Choose Food That Meets Your Dog’s Specific Needs

You might find that your senior dog has developed lactose intolerance or arthritis. If your senior dog has one or more missing teeth, a kibble that includes small pieces might represent a choking hazard. 

Take your dog’s health issues into account when choosing food. It’s always a good idea to ask your veterinarian about natural or commercial snacks that are healthier for senior animals.

Fortunately, there are many choices for senior dog food, and it won’t be difficult to find a brand that’s just right for your pet’s unique needs.

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Jeffrey Manheimer

I have grown up with dogs my entire life. My current fur baby is Frankie, a Bernese Mountain dog that is scared of flies, running water and the gameshow Jeopardy. Her health and joints have been managed by key supplements, vitamins and a variety of food.

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